What Is Data Management & What Goes In a Plan?

A general introduction to what data management is, why it's important and some basics on how to write a plan to accomplish it.

Evaluate What Services You May Need

Listed below are a variety of resources available at UNC to help with different needs.  Consider what your project will entail and talk with the respective staff to design a customized data management plan.  Similar services are available from multiple resources, giving researchers a wide variety of flexible data management solutions.

Carolina Digital Repository

If you don't need to manipulate your data regularly but mainly want a place to store your data when the research is complete, consider an institutional repository like the Carolina Digital Repository (CDR).

ITS Research Computing Services

Consider using ITS Research Computing if you:

  • Need storage solutions for the active research phase of your research
  • Need to archive multiple file types
  • Need to preserve successive versions of the data
  • Have requirements for reproducibility
  • Need to give different users different levels of access
  • Want to distribute storage over servers in different locations (i.e., how disaster-proof do you want your data to be)

More Options

Consult with ITS, the Odum Institute, RENCI, or the DICE Center if:

  • You want users to be able to do their own subsetting or analysis online
  • You need to provide access to your data to researchers in a remote location while your research is in progress
  • You need large capacity or high speed computing capabilities

The Odum Institute offers a simple, self-guided program for organizing some kinds of data in its DataVerse system, free of charge to UNC researchers.

RENCI and the Data Intensive Cyber-Environments (DICE) Center offer highly flexible, custom-programmed storage systems, but require substantial funding resources.

Important Considerations for Choosing a Repository

When choosing a repository, make sure you consider:

  • To what extent do other researchers need to be able to use your data when your research is completed?
  • Who would be interested in your data and how does the repository you choose appeal to that audience?
  • What tools does a repository have to make your data findable and usable?
  • Can the repository offer sufficient security to protect sensitive data, or can you adequately de-identify the data?
  • How long do you need to store your data?
  • How stable is the repository in which you want to deposit your data?
  • What are its policies for moving your data out of that repository, or what happens if you leave your current institution?
  • Do you have questions or concerns about copyrighting data or data that you have licensed or purchased?
    • You should consult University Counsel about legal matters such as this